An aircraft engineer, also known as an aircraft maintenance engineer, is a person who is responsible for ensuring the airworthiness of an aircraft. Every country has a different set of regulations that an engineer must follow. Still, the skills required of an aircraft engineer largely remain the same.
All large aircraft — homemade planes and ultralight planes do not adhere to the same regulations — must have a valid Certificate of Airworthiness. In order to pass inspection, aircraft must be maintained on a regular basis according to manufacturer guidelines; maintenance of this kind is conducted by an aircraft engineer. In addition, these engineers must fix any problems that have been listed by a pilot or crew member. Frequently, audits are conducted by local aviation authority personnel. Any mistakes found during these inspections or audits are the direct responsibility of an aircraft maintenance engineer.
While education requirements differ from country to country, most engineers must complete a certified training program. This type of program usually lasts for many months, and includes all the training necessary to become an aircraft engineer. In addition, on-the-job training requirements must be satisfied.
Aircraft engineers must understand all aspects of local aviation regulations. Following all schooling and training, an aircraft engineer will be given a License Without Type Rating (L.W.T.R). In order to gain certified or "type" training, an engineer must complete additional training. The different licensing types include airframe structures, electrical structures, radar systems, engine systems, propeller systems, and various others. Some of these categories may be broken down further to include extreme specializations.
On occasion, an aircraft engineer may be able to gain a more prominent position. When an engineer has spent many years working within a specific field, it is possible for this person to enter other specialized fields such as quality assurance and maintenance planning. The duties required of these engineers are vast; not only are these professionals responsible for the safety of aircraft, they are also responsible for any legal troubles that may arise due to faulty aircraft. Thus, this job is a highly stressful one that requires a large amount of training.
Prospective engineers should study mathematics, science, and engineering at a college or university level. In addition to necessary skills, these professionals must also be able to think quickly, and have the ability to think analytically at all times. An aircraft engineer should have the ability to effectively communicate with others, since lengthy explanations are a large part of this job position.